Wednesday, April 4, 2007

INNER CITY UNIT - Punkadelic ,LP,1982,UK

"Inner City Unit, a devolving London five piece whose music is so far over the edge that it almost defies comprehension, Had the Bonzo Dog Band spent the `70s attending muddy rock festivals this might have been the outcome."
Ira Robbins, "The Trouser Press Record Guide"

In April 1979 the first ICU converged at Turners Caddilac Ranch the guilty parties were:
Nik Turner - Vox & Sax,
Dead Fred - Vox & Keys,
Trev Thoms - Vox & Guitar,
Mo Vicarage - Synth
Dino Ferrrari - Drums
After 4 days Rehearsal the band went to Foel Studios in Wales and recorded 4 Tracks: Watching The Grass Grow, Cars Eat With Auto Face, Alright On The Flight + Solitary Astrid. This line up played 1 gig in Liverpool and also at the 1979 Glastonbury Festival as SPHINX this show was filmed by the BBC and an edited version was shown in 1980.
Mo Vicarage retired from live playing and Nik, Fred, Trev + Dino were joined by Baz Magneto on Bass. After playing Stonehenge and various other festivals Dino returned to Rome and was replaced by Dave Dog. In September the band released its 1st single Solitary Ashtray on its own label and begins to rise on the club-dump circuit.

Dave Dog leaves + Fred takes a bad trip, (The first of many... ..he's cured now though) meanwhile Mick Stupp takes the Drum Chair. Fred returns and the band records demos of Space Invaders and Polyethylene for a Major Label. (Polydor) December 1980 see's our heros turning down the major label + staying with their own label (Riddle records) to record their 1st Album - PASSOUT at low cost in 3 days. The 3rd and final release on Riddle was the single PARADISE BEACH in March 1980. It was during this time that the "Insolence accross the Nation" half of "Ersatz" was recorded..
After the release of Passout Baz leaves the band & is replaced by Man of Mystery 'Little Bit' for a tour supporting Sham 69 - Skinhead violence becomes a part of the bands persona. Little bit leaves and is replaced by Speed Machine who destroys any credibility he may have had by falling on his head off of the Music Machines 9 ft Stage during his first live apperance... NEXT!
May-June 1980 Dead Fred is now on Bass + as a last resort Pstupid Steve (Pond) joins as miming Keyboard player and synthi anarchist. Blithering Idiots tour starts 1 week late in Leeds. (Does anyone know where we can stay tonight?)
In the summer the band plays the Stonehenge festival and supports Horsewind at 2 Lyceum gigs in London. Mick Stupp slips away + Dave Dog returns to support Psychadelic Furs at the Lyceum. Pstupid leaves to join the magnificent Three Laws, the rest of the band reconverge at the Caddilac Ranch.
Dino Ferrari returns to drum stool and band now a four piece Nik, Trev, Fred + Dino start to rehearse and write material for THE MAXIMUM EFFECT. Following the release of the album in the summer of 1981 the band begins a 6 week residency at the Marquee. After various gigs through the summer (including 2 with Hugh Lloyd Langton as Guitarist) ICU played its last gig at Sizewell.
Nik rejoins Hawkwind and takes Fred with him. No body knows what happened to Trev or Dino. during this time, though the world chemical stocks became unbalanced.. Following Hawkwinds mammoth UK tour in 1983 (and hey, they almost became good again for a while...) Nik + Fred left to revive ICU and make "Newanatomy".. not the best album in the world.. but what started out as demos by a sax player and a keyboard man became the springboard for ICU MkII
Steve Pond returns for the making of the LP because he knew how to work a drum machine and is promoted to Guitarist - because he had one and said he'd learn to play it before they did some gigs.. a promise he -almost- kept... (No solos!) Dave Anderson joins on Bass. The band played the Montgomery Music Festival in Wales during the making of Newanatomy with a Drum Machine and various guests Violin/Percussion/Jugglers etc.. It was entertainmenet but it was only -just- music.. A tour was set up for later in the year....
The tour line-up received a boost when Mick Stupp returned, so ICU Mk2 hit the road:
Nik - Vox & Sax
Fred - Vox & Keys & Violin
Steve - Vox & Guitar
Stupp - Drums
Dave - Bass
The tour was a big success.. so much so they did another one! now another Hawkwind alumini Robert Calvert was guesting regularly and the band was building up quite a large cult following.. Riots in Manchester.. chosen to play with Husker-Du on that bands UK debut to ensure a full house (ICU *KILLED* Husker-Du that night.. I have video proof! )
Soon it was time for more recording.. Newanatomy was released on Dave Andersons "Demi Monde" label and following a bit of a falling out (ahem) he left and the band started recording its new EP for Lythm St Annes based label "Jettisoundz" without a bass player (the band had originally met Jettisoundz when they made a video for "Help Sharks" from Newanatomy) the result was a similtaneous Video/Vinyl release for "Blood & Bone" the bands strongest release since Maximum Effect..
When the royaltie statement for Blood & Bone arrives the band are surprised to find they've been charged "location expenses" for the video shoot.. it was shot in Freds back garden.. suffice to say not a penny was earned from this release.. by the band anyway. Once again, time to tour, time for a new Bass Player, cue "Sprog Turnip" a hippy from Reading who still owes Steve Pond a hundred quid and will therefore receive no more good publicity here (Bastard). ..the tour goes Ok, except for Turnips stench.. that git stunk like a whores ass.. anyway, come the time to record a new album and it's discovered in the studio that the turnip not only stinks but he can't play bass.. Fred gives him 20 quid and tells him to fuck off back to Reading.. off he went to be replaced on the record by Fred & Steve.
"The Presidents Tapes" is the bands 5th LP and is released by "Flicknife" a label with longtime Hawkwind connections, it is a good LP and for a change is well received by the press.. (4 stars out of 5 all round..) Time to tour!!
The Bass spot on the tour is filled by Nazar Alikhan, Newanatomys sleeve designer and longtime Hawks/ICU/Calvert/Barney Bubbles fan.. I like Nazar, but feel I may have blotted my copybook in that dept. I wasn`t a very nice person at this time.. (who was?) Calverts still guesting occasionally... it's the bands last tour.. ego's, personality clashes and living on opposite sides of the country end what was a great time..
"INNER CITY UNIT are a weird and wonderful lot, and this a weird and wonderful record Any band who can combine murderous disco rhythms thumping heavy metal riffs punky noise and psychedeic buzzes into a collection as varied and povierful as this deserve to be number one.
'Punkadelic' is a collection of songs recorded at varrocis stages of lnner City Unit's career; this may have something to do with the diversity of styles on show, although their live repertoire is pretry varied as well. I've ahuays believed diversity To be a good thing, and as every track on this album is a winner in it`s own right I`m delighted.
But be warred. If you like your records staid, stylistically predictable and planned out computer fashion, you`ll probably find "Punkadelic" really annoying. If you want categories, there's two mickey-taking disco tracks. two punky ones. a few weird psychedelic efforts and the occasional hunky heavy metal offering.
Personal favorites in a great bunch are the Hawkviind-ish "Watching The Grass Grow, The heavy thump of 'Cars Eat With Autoface, the vocal duet on 'Bildeborg' and, above all; the punchy and punky 'Blue Rinse Haggard Robot'. This is a song about a certain female politician dear to all our hearts and features the line "Little Girls Are Pretty; robot, you're not -- you're a cunt!" An articulate political critique if ever I heard one... "
John Opposition -Sounds 28-8-82

this contains bonus the song :Amyl Nitrate,originally released as 7".

get it here


kingpossum said...

Great to see the ICU on the Mutant! Their odd noize and Mr. Turner's wiggy exhortations are always most welcome. Thank you for keeping their weird green flame burning in the blogosphere.


Anonymous said...

I.C.U. were a truly great band!!!!!
more stuff can be found here>>>

Anonymous said...

thaks for posting this one, ICU were a great band.. would love someone to put up their other stuff , especially the collaboration with barney bubbles - ersatz by the imperial pompadours!